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The Biggest Issues Facing Men’s Health

(TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses mental health and suicide)

Men!  We need to talk…Men’s Health Week has just finished and it brings into sharp focus some of the truly startling statistics around men’s health in Australia.  We’ve compiled a list of five of the top issues facing men’s health, and the first steps you or the man in your life can take to address them.

Men's Health Week

The State of Play

  • One in two men don’t exercise enough
  • Seven in 10 men are overweight or obese
  • One in two men have a chronic condition
  • One in two men have experienced a mental health issue
  • More than one in two men have experienced sexual difficulty
  • Prostate caner is the most common cancer facing men and…
  • Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of Australian men.

So let’s look at that last one first…

Coronary Heart Disease (or cardiovascular disease)

In 2017, 26% of all deaths by Australian males can be attributed to cardiovascular disease.  Why so high?

Because there are a lot of contributing factors including:      

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Inactivity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating a poor diet
  • Suffering from mental health issues.
Cardiovascular Disease

How can we help?

Assessing your heart health with a SwiftDoc GP could involve starting off with a blood test for cholesterol and sugar levels.  In this blood test, we’ll also check your liver and kidney function.  It’s as simple as getting the blood test form emailed to you, you get the test, then we email you the results.  The outcome of the tests will determine the next steps.

There’s also a handy little online tool you can use to check your heart age.  If your heart age is more than your actual age, it’s another trigger to book an appointment with us for a chat.

Prostate Cancer

Sadly prostate cancer kills around 3,500 men in Australia each year.  It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men, and it kills more men than breast cancer kills women. 

It is also the sixth leading cause of death for Australian men – so worth talking about!

One of the issues with prostate cancer is that there might not be any symptoms initially.  Some symptoms you may experience are discomfort or difficult urinating, or the frequent or sudden need to urinate.  Blood in the urine is another possible symptom.

Prostate Cancer

How can we help?

Your SwiftDoc GP may start by ordering a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test.  This tests for the levels of this protein.  Depending on the results, next steps could be an ultrasound, an MRI or even a biopsy. 

Getting the blood test done is an easy first step – we email you the form, you get the test, then we email you the results.

Cure rates for prostate cancer are improving, but sadly there is still a way to go.  If you are at all concerned, don’t hesitate to book an appointment for a chat.

Mental Health

It’s a shame that this topic makes the list, but sadly, nearly half of all men have experienced a mental health disorder.  Even worse, mental health issues in men are becoming more prevalent.

The most heartbreaking statistic of all is that men comprise on average, six out of every eight suicides every day in Australia.  That’s almost twice the number of fatalities as the road toll.

Men in particular sometimes have a habit of pushing mental health into the background.  But like every other medical condition what you need is an action plan for recovery.

Mental Health

How can we help?

In a consultation with one of our SwiftDoc GPs, they may discuss things such as stress management, sleep, medication, or refer you for psychological support.  We can help right away, and you can talk to us from the comfort of your own home.  We also have excellent mental health practitioners who can consult with you online as well.

There are lots of reasons for a decline in mental health.  It could be stress at work, dealing with loss or grief, or coping with a period of significant change.  Whatever the reason, we encourage you to talk to trusted family and friends, and engage a GP for professional support.

Diabetes

The statistics around diabetes are truly mind-blowing:

  • 288 Australians are diagnosed every day, that’s one person every five minutes!
  • 5.7% of Australian men have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
  • Diabetes leads to over 4,400 amputations per year in Australia.
  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Those with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart disease (and 10-15 years earlier too). 

Even more alarmingly, diabetes is growing at a much faster rate than any other chronic disease.  It goes without saying that this is a significant issue facing Australian men.  Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, but you can delay or even prevent Type 2 diabetes. 

Diabetes

How can we help?

We encourage you to talk to a SwiftDoc GP as soon as possible.  In the consultation, we may run through things such as lifestyle changes you can make, and medical management options for your diabetes diagnosis. 

Sexual Health

This is a big topic, so to narrow it down, we’re going to chat about male infertility.

Did you know that around 30% of fertility issues originate in the man?  This could be due to poor quality sperm, low sperm count, a blockage, functional problems or hormonal problems. 

Obviously this can impact a couple’s chances of a successful pregnancy.

Did you also know that male infertility issues are on the rise?

Low sperm count is more common than ever and as men are starting families at a later age, sperm quality is lower too (busting the myth that men’s virility doesn’t decline with age).

There are also lifestyle factors that could be playing a part such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Stress.
Sexual Health

How can we help?

With so many factors in play, we suggest you start by chatting with a SwiftDoc GP.  They may run through all these lifestyle factors with you, and run some tests to check your hormones and sperm count/quality.  Depending on the outcome of those, they may also arrange scans for further investigation.  They can also advise you on your options such as IVF. 

Phew! That’s a lot to take in…

The main message we hope you take from this information is that we are here to help, and that taking action by discussing your symptoms with a GP is a great first step on the road to good health.

Book an appointment to discuss any of these (or any other medical concerns) today.

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